A Traditional Mediterranean Diet Reduces Breast Cancer Risk through Changes in Metabolic Profiles of Endogenous Estrogens

Giuseppe Carruba, University of Palermo, Sicily, Italy

This presentation is available to view/download in the following formats:

Abstract:Breast cancer incidence and mortality rates vary greatly worldwide and are markedly lower in the south than in the north of Europe. This has been ascribed to differences in lifestyle and, notably, to diverse dietary habits across countries. However, little information exists on the impact of different dietary patterns on breast cancer risk. In the Mediet Project, a randomized dietary intervention study, we assessed the effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on profiles of endogenous estrogens in healthy postmenopausal women. Out of the 230 women that initially volunteered 115 were eligible and enrolled in the study. Women were then randomized into intervention (n=58) and control (n=57) groups. Women in the intervention group adhered to a traditional, restricted Mediterranean diet for six months, while women in the control group continued to follow their regular diet. Before (baseline) and after the dietary intervention, all women compiled a validated food frequency questionnaire and profiles of urinary estrogens were assessed using Reverse-Phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and photodiode array detection. After six months, women in the intervention group substantially changed their dietary regimen, and this eventually led to a shift from a prevalent intake of fat and proteins of animal origins to a prevalent intake of vegetable sources. As far as urinary estrogens are concerned, no significant difference was detected between the intervention and control groups at baseline. After six months, control women did not show major change but women in the intervention group exhibited a significant decrease (over 40%) in total estrogen (P<0.02). It is worth noting that the majority of this modification was based on a marked decrease of specific estrogen metabolites, including hydroxy- and keto- derivatives of estradiol or estrone. To our knowledge this is the only report to show that a traditional Mediterranean diet significantly reduces endogenous estrogen. This may eventually lead to identification selected dietary components that more effectively decrease estrogen levels and, hence, provide a basis for dietary preventive measures for breast cancer.

About the Presenter: 

Giuseppe Carruba is the Director of Experimental Oncology at the ARNAS-Civico in Palermo, Italy, as well as Lecturer in Oncology at the Medical School of the University of Palermo. He earned an M.D. degree from the University of Palermo in 1982, a Board Certificate in General Pathology from the same institution in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow. Dr. Carruba has published extensively in over 40 peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, he has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Italian Foundation for Cancer Research Award (1996), the Petzoller Foundation Award (2001), and the Memorial Father Ennio Pintacuda Award (2007). E-mail: lucashbl@unipa.it

Presented on: 
April 21, 2011
Symposium 2011
Creative Commons License